The document comes in a unique moment in the relationship between the two countries, mainly in the matter of transport, as regular direct flights between Cuba and the United States, which will be 110 daily, were resumed last August.
In 2016, 614 433 visitors arrived in Cuba from USA – 34% more than in 2015 – thanks to the agreements on air and maritime transport, which also allowed a cruise with American flag to dock in the Caribbean island for the first time in fifty years.
The number of Americans in Cuba rose to 284 937, which represented a growth of 74 percent compared to the previous year, although none of them could come as a tourist, due to the prohibitions of US blockade on Cuba.
Marta Oramas, Cuban Deputy Minister of Transport, stated in the protocol signing ceremony that the agreement has particular importance because it establishes the commitment of both governments when it is required to coordinately work in the rescue of human lives.
She said that the competent authorities exchanged in the last years in search and rescue, which allowed in 2014 to agree operational procedures and good practices in their implementation, precedent that added to the current context of the links, allowed to reach the agreement signed today in the Nacional Hotel of Cuba.
The agreement will allow joint exercises, periodic checks of communication channels, reciprocal visits by experts and information exchange, stated Oramas.
Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, noted that both governments have worked together in search and rescue operations for more than 20 years and stressed that this alliance strengthens cooperation in the effort to save lives.
He emphasized the importance for the North American side of the improvement in this subject, mainly when the flow of travelers is increasing between the two countries.
Each of the parties accepted in the agreement the primary responsibility for coordinating rescue and save operations in the aeronautical and maritime demarcated regions.
Cuba has an adequate regulatory framework for the preparation, organization and response to maritime and aeronautical events with danger to the lives of people involved.
This agreement on aeronautical and maritime search and rescue is the bilateral instrument No. 19 signed between Havana and Washington since diplomatic relations were re-established on July 20, 2015 and comes two days before President Barack Obama to leave the White House to his successor, Donald Trump.